I’m single again and I recently started dating.
Several months ago, I met a truly handsome, successful, funny, and swell guy. We initially hit it off in many ways. There was the obvious physical attraction accompanied by a rich, flirty banter and a similar sense of humor that made for some very fun experiences. We both value our relationships, so we weren’t interested in rushing into a new one just to be in a relationship. Consequently, he and I took some time to get to know each other before we decided whether to ‘consciously couple’ or not.
I noticed that he described himself as a workaholic. He talked about how it was an issue in his life, yet he didn’t want to deal with it. His personal life was a mess and we both knew it, but professionally he was doing well and that’s what mattered to him. Like it or not, his story was not an uncommon one in our society today.
Going back to our story, he thought that I would be a great partner for him. He saw that I had created a healthy work/life balance and he thought I could create that for him. In other words, he wanted me to step in whenever his workaholic behavior showed itself and stop it, thus creating balance for him.
Yeah. (Pregnant pause.)
That arrangement wasn’t going to work for me, or us for that matter. I saw in front of me a man who wanted to create an elaborate way to hide from his self. I form of what is called ‘chosen ignorance. He was hiding from the issue, or issues, that were driving his workaholic behavior. And, I couldn’t sign up for that. I know, because I speak from experience. I’ve done the exact same thing with an ex-boyfriend.
Hello Karma, it’s been awhile. What’s new with you?
You see I used to be a workaholic, so I understand what drives that sort of behavior. And ironically, I also outsourced the task of creating balance in my life to a boyfriend – a now ex-boyfriend to be exact. The gist of that break-up was that he didn’t support my career aspirations or understand my work commitments, so the relationship fell apart. That’s the story I told myself, but it wasn’t really true.
I was sad when that relationship ended and realized that my life wasn’t working very well. Admitting the truth to myself would be hard, but I knew I had to do it. I started by looking at my behavior and the role I played in that relationship. I wrote in a journal. I read books. I tried carving out more personal time for myself. I babbled on and on with my friends about the break-up and I gave them permission to call me on my stuff. And, I really, really hated them for telling me the truth, but it was valuable information. I took it all in and started realizing that I had to make some changes in my life.
During that time I learned that externally controlling someone doesn’t work and it can lead to anger, resentment, and all types of ills in any relationship. Second, my outsourcing of control and blame to my boyfriend was an elaborate way for me to avoid dealing with my stuff. When I assigned the control in our relationship to him and he wasn’t able to effectively follow through with it, I could blame him and then I was off the hook. I didn’t have to look at my issues, my stuff, because I was busy blaming him for our relationship not working.
More importantly, I discovered that I had everything inside of me to change my life – to make it better. There was no need for me to control things outside of myself. The unvarnished truth is that I used control as a way to avoid dealing with the fact that I wasn’t in love with that ex-boyfriend and I didn’t want to be alone. I really didn’t want to be alone. And, I had used my work as a way to avoid dealing with the issues in our relationship.
I uncovered my truth on my own and as corny as it sounds, the truth set me free. Admitting my truth meant that I had to let go of the old story that I had told myself about the break-up and find the courage to admit to myself how I really, truly, felt about the relationship.
It’s at that time that I started to understand why things went down the way they did with my ex. I realized that I had grown out of that relationship and didn’t want to deal with it, and that I now desired a different type of man.
After admitting the truth to myself, I found that my outside life started to reflect a clearer, inside me. Consequently, I created a mighty fine work/life balance and I began to attract a different type of man into my life. A man better suited to the happier, wiser, and more truthful woman that I had become. Overall, I learned to let go of the need to use control in my relationships. And, the truth, the lesson, and the self-knowing I gained from that experience allowed me to make better choices and not repeat that experience with a potentially new partner.